Comparative Politics Article

The goal of this paper is to analyze an argument presented in an article from the NY Times, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, or Economist. Students will be provided with four articles to choose from. Students are to pick one and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of its argument as well as the quality of its evidence, using the tools and concepts learnt in this course.


Foreign Affairs (docx that is attached)

Structure/Organization: I expect the following structure of the paper:

In your introduction, briefly summarize the argument the paper is making and the key evidence it presents (about half a page).
Then clearly state whether you find this argument convincing or not and name the reasons in support of your position (a thesis statement).
Dedicate the main body of the paper to the analysis of the argument and assessment of the evidence (see a list of questions below for guidance).
In conclusion, suggest ways to strengthen the argument (about a page) or suggest alternative evidence and ways to acquire it.

Analysis: Consider the following questions when you attempt your analysis (you do not need to answer all of them, choose 3-4 and build your analysis around them, turn them into body paragraphs):

What assumptions (often implicit) does the author make?
Whose voice/perspective does (s)he represent?
Are other voices/perspectives represented? If so, how? Whose voices are those? Whose voices are silenced? Why?
Did all the stakeholders get a chance to speak/present their perspective? If not, whose perspective do you consider to be crucial for this argument and what this perspective is (briefly outline it and explain why it is important)?
How does the author define the key concepts? Is there a stronger way to conceptualize/define this phenomenon? Why is the alternative conceptualization stronger?
How does (s)he operationalize (measure) these concept(s)? Is there a better way to measure this phenomenon?
What are the key factors/explanations behind this phenomenon? Are there any alternative explanations?
Does the author effectively address the alternative explanations? If so, how? Do you find it sufficient? Why or why not?
Is the case selection appropriate to substantiate the author’s analytical claims? Why or why not? How similar or different are these cases? Would you add anything? Why/why not?
Is there enough evidence? Why/why not?
Is the typical or rare case evidence is used? Is it appropriate?
What kind of evidence is used to support the analytical propositions? Is it quantitative/qualitative or both? Does this type of evidence strengthen the argument? Why or why not?
What other types of evidence can strengthen the argument? Why? How can you acquire this evidence?
Is the data reliable (is it accurate and up-to-date)?
Is the evidence relevant to the claim of the argument?